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How to expatriate in Poland

How to expatriate in Poland

Have you ever been an expatriate? Are you planning a professional expatriation, particularly in Poland? Moving to another country is not easy for many of us. 

Moving to Poland

This guide aims to prepare you for your expatriation to Poland. Expatriation is an important step for which you should be well prepared. Since moving abroad cannot be improvised, we have designed this guide to give you all the keys to a successful expatriation.

This short guide is based on the personal experience of several expatriates. We wanted to share our best advices with you in order to help you in your administrative and other procedures. In particular, you will discover the advantages and disadvantages.

Whether you are a student, an employee or you love a pretty Polish girl, this useful guide is directly addressed to you.

Everybody has wanted to leave their city to settle elsewhere. Some want to change city, others want to change region, but there are also those who want to go abroad. Let's get into the subject deeper.

The preparation

We are going to talk about Poland, why? Because it is a country that is developing rapidly and it is also the place where we carry out our main activity, real estate investment and assistance in setting up in Poland.

Have you ever wanted to move to Poland? Maybe it didn't work out for several reasons. For example, you were quickly discouraged by the Polish language and did not understand anything at all. It's normal, Polish is one of the most complicated languages to master in the world.

Finding a place to live, opening a bank account or learning the laws... A lot of complicated steps to take when you don't know anything about the country.

We would like to help you and for this reason we will start with the preparation.

This is an important step in the expatriation process. Everyone must go through this moment of reflection. You have finally decided to go abroad to try a new experience.

We are lucky to live in a country of the European Union, moving to a country of the Shengen area helps to ease the administrative side. No need for a work visa or residence permit! Although it is not as simple as we think, we will come back to this subject later.

Before booking your one-way plane ticket, don't forget to prepare several important things.

Your Family

Before taking a final decision, remember to discuss it with your family. Moving abroad is a serious project. Your family's opinion should not totally influence your choice, but knowing their opinion can help you. Listening to your family may help you realize that there is something missing in the preparation of your trip. You know what you are doing. You are a responsible adult.

Going away from your family is a step that should not be overlooked. You need to know that at some point you will miss them. The advantage of Poland is that it is about 2h30 from France and tickets are cheap with low-cost airlines.

Geographically, this is a good argument for you and to reassure your loved ones. They will be able to come and see you for a weekend or for longer periods. You will be able to welcome them in your home or they will take a hotel or a short term rental via well-known platforms.

Don't forget to warn your friends too, maybe you will succeed in motivating them to follow you. Expatriation alone is fun but better with people you like.

Your ID

Even if we are in the European Union, you are obliged to carry administrative documents with you. Do not forget your identity card. A passport is not an obligation but it is strongly recommended.

The Polish administration prefers see your passport when you register to ask for your PESEL number for example (but what's that? We will talk about it in a future article).

Your health coverage

A very important point that matters during your expatriation is your health. It is a very important preparation. You are 100% sure to leave, so you will have documents to fill out.

For this, we advise you to contact your health advisor, the AMELI website if you are French. You will find the most useful informations directly on the website.  They are specialists, they will be present to help you in your steps.

Your remuneration

When we grow up, we want to become autonomous and independent of our family. This is a reason that forces us to earn money in order to achieve this goal of autonomy. No matter where you want to go, having money is an obligation in order to be able to have a roof above your head or feed yourself. There are alternatives such as being "au pair" or working in a private home for a meal and a roof over your head, this is a very good concept but at some point you will want to become financially independent. Earning a salary can help you in this process.

Without talking about figures, Poland is cheaper than France in many areas but not everything. Food is cheaper, going out in the evening with friends should not ruin you either. However, not everything is cheaper, let's take the example of electronics, prices will be the same as in France or even more expensive depending on the conversion rate between the euro and the zloty. On average, we can see 1€ = 4.3zl. Your biggest monthly expense will be your rent.

It is not uncommon to come across Poles living with only 500 euros per month (the local minimum wage). They still manage to go out on weekends and enjoy themselves.

We advise you to have a plan to find a solution that will allow you to be paid. Luckily, Poland has a very low unemployment rate and for French speakers, finding a well paid job is quite easy outside Covid. If you have a good level of English (social English is B1) indeed. The majority of expatriates work in corporations, multinational companies.

We advise you to register on LinkedIn or groups of French-speaking expatriates living in Poland. There are several groups on social networks such as Facebook. This is very effective if you need help.

The companies that recruit the most are the multinationals present in Business Park. You will meet many French-speaking expatriates in the following cities: Krakow - Warsaw - Wroclaw - Gdansk - Poznan and others.

Above all, don't forget to adapt your CV because large companies will ask you to do so in English. It is possible that you will also be asked for the originals of your diplomas with a translation by a professional.

Means of transportation

Now that you have found a job and finished the administrative burdens on your side of the country, it's time to take care of the transportation. We live in a modern world, there are several possibilities to go to Poland now. Car, bus, plane or train are the four main ways to get there. On this side, we let you decide according to your preferences and your budget. Here are the travel times we have observed recently:

  • Plane: between 2 hours and 2 hours and a half to get there.
  • Train: about 20 hours with several connections
  • Car: about 20 hours depending on your break time
  • Bus: about 30 hours

It's up to you to decide which transport suits you best.

Housing

A very important point not to be neglected: your housing. You know the date of arrival in the city of your choice in Poland, you must find a place to live. We advise you to take a few months in advance. Think carefully about your budget and the location. When you don't know a city, it is difficult to know where to move to. It is important to know the location of your place of work and the streets you are interested in.

Do not hesitate to contact us, we can help you in your steps and accompany you in your research. We visit the apartment with you by videoconference. You will avoid scams and will get interesting and useful advices. Often, the photos on the ads are misleading, especially about the surface. It is not uncommon to visit an apartment with an impression of grandeur in the photos, but in reality the space is small.

In Poland, the proofs requested by the owners are less complicated than in France. They will ask you for a deposit equal to one month's rent, your identity card and your work contract. Some landlords will ask you for a guarantor and other documents.

The trip

During the trip, don't hesitate to inquire about your new life. Many of our members have experienced this. There is a difference between coming for a short stay and settling in for several months.

You need to know that a change is about to take place. You won't find the same food as in France for example (unless you look hard enough). The climate is different, there is no jet lag but you still feel it when you see the sunset at 4pm during winter. The sun rises around 4:30 in summer and they do not know about shutters. That can surprise the first times.

Of course, this expatriate guide will give you several tips and prepare you for your new life.

The language

Have you started to study Polish? Although English is sufficient to communicate with most Poles, we recommend that you learn a few basic words. It is very appreciated by Poles to try to speak with them in their native vernacular language.

Here is a short list of words to know that can be found on the French embassy's website:

Hello : Dzień dobry - [djène do-bré]
Goodbye: Do widzenia - [do vi-dzè-nia]
Yes: Tak - [tease]
No: Nie - [nie].
Thank you: Dziękuję - [djièn-cou-yè]
Please: Proszę - [pro-chè]
Pardon; excuse me; sorry: Przepraszam - [pchè-pra-chame]
How much does it cost? Island kosztuje? - [ilè tick-yè] ?
Mister: Bang - [Engine fails]
Madam: Pani - [pa-ni]
Where is ...? Gdzie jest ...? - [g'djè-yeste]
Right: W prawo - [v'pra-vo]
Left: W lewo - [v'lè-vo]
Historic Center: Stare miasto - [sta-rè mia-sto]
Street : Ulica - [ou-li-tsa]
I understand: Rozumiem [ro-zou-mth].
I don't understand: Nie rozumiem - [niè ro-zou-mième].
I don't speak Polish: Nie mówię po polsku - [nie mou-viè po polle-scou]
I am French : Jestem francuzem - [yèsse-tème franne-tsou-zème]
I'm French: Jestem francuzką - [yèsse-tème franne-tsou-scon]
Bus, bus : Bus - [aw-to-bousse]
Plane : Samolot - [sa-mo-lotte]
Train : Pociąg - [po-tchonque]
Store : Sklep - [sclèpe]
Pharmacy : Apteka - [appe-te-ca].
Pastry: Cukiernia - [tsou-quière-nia]
Sandwich : Kanapka - [ca-pappe-ca]
Water : Woda - [vo-da]

1: Jeden - [yè-dène]
2: Dwa - [dva]
3 : Trzy - [tché]
4 : Cztery - [tch'tè-ré]
5 : Pięć - [pièn'tche]
6 : Sześć - [chèche'tche]
7: Siedem - [chiedema]
8 : Osiem - [o-th]
9 : Dziewięć - [djiè-vièn'tche]
10 : Dziesięć - [djiè-chièn'tche]
20 : Dwadzieścia - [dva-djèch'tcha]
100 : Sto - [sto]

We advise you to learn these words, they will help you quickly. It is possible to learn Polish in language schools, the prices are accessible for everyone and it works by semester or by module. We can recommend schools or applications to train you during your trip.

Arrival in Poland

The trip is over, you have arrived in Poland. Perhaps you will have noticed that the road signs or advertisements are no longer in French but in Polish. This is a great moment for you. If you have followed our previous advice and you have contacted us, then your contact person will be waiting for you at the arrival area of the airport or in front of your accommodation according to your choice.

The first step is to go to your new accommodation and discover it for real. Start packing and organizing your apartment as you wish.

You are going to spend your first night in a new country. Don't forget to contact your family to let them know that you are coming home. A new adventure is about to begin.

The Climate

Many people fear the weather in Poland. However, it is increasingly rare to be confronted with negative temperatures with polar cold even during the winter season.

We still advise you to bring warm clothes for the winter, prefer cotton and wool for your clothes. Natural fabrics will keep you warmer.

In summer, you will have the same temperatures as in France.

The food

This is an interesting point. The food in Poland is different if we compare it to France. Polish culinary specialties are pierogi, soups (zurek, barzcz) or bigos. We leave you the surprise to go and taste it yourself. Many food trucks are present everywhere, you will find zapiekanka or smoked Polish cheese (oscypek).

Big brands such as Carrefour, Auchan or Lidl are present in Poland. It is possible to find French food. It is not uncommon to find in the dairy products section, French cheeses such as Camembert. It is possible to find sausage too.

If you miss French food, you are lucky to have several restaurants specializing in French dishes. Often started by French speakers. Luck!

Conclusion

This is the end of this guide to go to Poland serenely. We know that you remain hungry, you want to know more.

If you have any questions, do not hesitate to contact us. We speak French, English and Polish. We will be delighted to answer your questions and accompany you in your administrative procedures in Poland.

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